The hemp debate continues to grow

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The hemp and CBD industries are growing across the nation, but not necessarily in South Dakota. That's leaving local businesses wondering how to stay competitive, while also compliant with state laws.

Hemporium Boutique is located in downtown Rapid City and sells hemp, bamboo and cotton products.

"It's got thousands and thousands and thousands of uses. This shirt is made from hemp, my wallet's made from hemp, all the way down to my socks and underwear are made from hemp. These are not gateway drugs, this is gateway economics," said Hemporium Boutique Owner Leonard Vandermate.

After the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp farming federally, large industries and local businesses are now selling CBD products made from hemp. However, under South Dakota state law, CBD cannot contain any THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

"You got to know what the law is and right now it's without THC, with zero THC. So any business that wants to carry CBD, don't carry it with THC, know the product, don't just go by what the vendor told you, look at the COA's or certificate of authenticities. Make sure you know what you're getting into before you do it because there is that grey line here. Even though some counties will not prosecute, others may," said Vandermate.

Hemp products are everywhere, from T-shirts to bags, but what's all the fuss about CBD oil?

"The problem essentially that businesses will run into, it's not necessarily regulated by the FDA so you have to know what you're selling. So, obviously our recommendation to anybody as a business is that you know what you're selling whether that's doing independent lab testing on your own on top of what they're telling you is out there because if it would contain any THC, that would take it out of the realm of legal and would make it illegal at that point," said Pennington County Deputy State's Attorney Adam Shiffermiller.

Here in South Dakota, some business owners think the production of hemp is an untapped industry. Pennington County State Attorney's Office says CBD is legal and will not prosecute anyone who possesses it within their jurisdiction. However, the Attorney General's Office disagrees with their stance and has powers to prosecute throughout the state.

"We believe that CBD is legal, so within Pennington County, we're not prosecuting any cases of anyone that's in possession of CBD or hemp," said Shiffermiller.

The State Attorney's Office recommends local businesses reach out to them if they have any questions about selling particular CBD products at 605-394-2191.